Corps’ big responsibilities
The first day of winter is arriving, and the flow level of the Missouri River will be at its lowest point of the season. Knowing this and armed with the knowledge from last year’s disaster, one would hope the Corps of Engineers will lower the water levels in the large upstream reservoirs during this time so that when the winter thaw and spring rains arrive, the water will have a place to go other than into the homes of us that live downstream! Let’s hope so!
Gregg D. Rhoades, Plattsmouth
Best approach to recycling
Years ago I wrote to the Public Pulse that I don’t recycle because every year the tonnage collected went up but the costs also went up. That meant the recycling had little or no value and now has even less. We’ve recently seen the single long-term bid to accept Omaha’s recycling skyrocket and no amount of negotiating is going to fix that.
But I may have a solution: Stop picking up recycling. That would save the city millions every year. The collection is inefficient, wasteful and obviously not profitable.
Pass a city ordinance that requires a recycling dumpster in every grocery store parking lot, serviced by the low bidder for the rights or multiple bidders.
Everyone goes to the grocery store. It would become second nature for people to carry their recycling there, deposit it in the sorting bins, then go to the store. I still won’t do it, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Neil Willer, Omaha
Spending is out of control
An excellent Dec. 15 Public Pulse submission by Bill Peterson mentioned Kiplingers Personal Finance for January 2020, which ranked Nebraska among the worst states for retirees. This poor rating has been an annual event as long as I can recall. It is important that as we mention high taxes, the sentence is finished with “BECAUSE of high spending.” The concept of having income, sales and property taxes is in itself not bad. Problem is, all three are too high because of overspending.
A motivated person with at least a sixth-grade education and Internet access could solve the issue quickly without harm by simply bringing each category of spending in line with averages used in neighboring states, saving hundreds of millions of dollars.
Legislative Bill 103 was unanimously enacted last March to provide taxpayers information on tax unit spending. It needs modification to show on county treasurer property tax statements the annual percentage increase in spending for each taxing unit. For example, a taxpayer gets a real property tax statement showing a 25% billing increase with the same mill levy as last year while politicians avow they are “holding the line” on spending — no mention of the significant appraisal increases.
In observing the Nebraska Legislature in operation, senators appear to take pride and sense of accomplishment doing tax shifts — an annoying waste of time. A senator who is motivated to actually reduce spending is the elusive unicorn we continue to seek.
Don Walters, Omaha
Voting rights are precious
Thanks for running the full-page article on Sunday about the roadblock to implementing Florida’s ballot measure Amendment 4, which passed in 2018 with nearly two-thirds of Floridians voting for it. The roadblock to having voting rights restored to formerly incarcerated felons is that its Legislature thereafter passed a measure to restore voting rights only to those “who have paid off all court-imposed fees.” The article described the controversy and federal lawsuit against the state, scheduled to be tried in April. Florida’s primary will be March 17.
I encourage fellow OWH readers who want to more speedily restore rights to those wishing to vote, but who can’t afford to pay fines before Florida’s next election, to contribute, as I have done, to floridarrc.com, specifically their fund to “help returning citizens pay fines and fees.”
Sandra Zdan, Omaha
Trump’s insults hit new low
A couple days ago President Trump was criticized for his feeble attempt to mock Greta Thunberg on Twitter because he was upset that Time magazine chose her over him as the Person of the Year. Ms. Thunberg is a 16-year-old climate activist who has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.
I honestly did not think that Donald Trump could possibly get any lower than that. How foolish of me to believe that. Then at his most recent political circus in Michigan he insinuated that the late Congressman John Dingle was “looking up” from Hell because Congresswoman Debbie Dingle cast a vote, and rightly so, in favor of the president’s impeachment. If he can possibly get any lower, it’s very likely he will be the one looking up.
Michael Wagner, Bellevue
Hearings were woefully unfair
Democrats are going ahead with impeachment after the recent lopsided partisan hearings? The ambassadors had no firsthand knowledge of any crimes or misdemeanors, only hearsay and conjecture. Trump’s phone call had no mention of Biden. The only real evidence of “quid pro quo” was Joe Biden on tape bragging about telling the Ukrainians that if they didn’t fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s Burisma, they wouldn’t get the billions of dollars in aid.
The impeachment committee’s all-day hearing on Dec. 4 consisted of very biased law professors, three picked by the Democrats and one by Republicans (again, typically unfair). One said he was a skeptic on impeachment, and then it was discovered that back in 2017, he said that Trump should be impeached for tweeting, using the words “Fake News” and pardoning a sheriff in Arizona. Another one criticized the name of the 13-year-old minor child of the president. Really?
It’s very scary reading many of the Public Pulse letters against the president. It seems that many of the writers did not watch the hearings but got all of their information from the very partisan mainstream media. It’s hard to understand such animosity toward a president who has the economy at an all-time high and unemployment for blacks and women at a 50-year low.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a registered Independent for many years who has voted Democrat all my life until I voted for Trump.
Cheryl Bartek, Omaha
Trump poses a dire threat
If we think back to our primitive ancestors. the story has always been a struggle. Of course they had to overcome the elements. When it came for them to socialize, a pecking order was quickly established. The biggest problem was that weaker members had a lower status. People thought it was all right to enslave other humans.
It wasn’t until We the People formed a government and wrote a Constitution — which began with those same words — that, for the first time in history, a democratic government was established. Think about that: We established the Constitution after all of the years of kings, dictators and despots ruling and making the average person miserable.
If Donald Trump gets away with his ignorance of Constitution, he and the Republicans are mocking our heritage and our right to be free. My question is, how could the Republicans be so disloyal to this country? Vladimir Putin is getting what he wants out of Trump. Putin is an enemy of democracy. Our president is destroying our existing system and replacing it by aligning with governments like North Korea, Turkey, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
I don’t know why Republicans are turning their backs on the country. If you believe that our struggle is lost and you don’t care, then call your congressman and tell Donald Trump to become a dictator. They say that fascists don’t know that they are fascists. Wake up! Please don’t let the people my father fought get the upper hand.
Daniel N. McMullen, Omaha
Real plagues facing our nation
I had to laugh at Gene Konopik’s letter in the Dec. 4 Public Pulse (“Let My People Go”). “I wonder when the other nine plagues are coming,” he wrote.
C’mon, Gene — haven’t you been paying attention?
We’ve already suffered through quite a few plagues — namely Obama, Hillary, Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Nadler ...
Rob Lamm, Norfolk
Politics and wealth
I think this really sums up the nightmare in our nation’s capital:
America does not need to see the tax return of a billionaire who became a public servant. America needs to see the tax returns of public servants who became millionaires while being public servants.
Mike Covolo, Omaha